Spain’s government to cut costs of Spanish bureaucracy

Spanish government to reduce bureaucratic costs by up to 15,000 million euros a year

All new decrees that are approved by the government must also include a report that guarantees that they will not generate new administrative posts or more bureaucratic procedures. The order which is due to be passed this month is part of the government’s commitment to reducing administrative bureaucracy by 30% during this legislature, something which would save between 1 and 1.5% of GDP according to estimates by the EU. This reduction is equivalent to between 10,000 and 15,000 million euros.

In total plans to reduce bureaucratic costs have resulted in the adoption of 80 measures since last summer to which another 50 measures due to be passed in February need to be added.

The commitment of the government to reduce bureaucratic costs exceeds by 5% the demands of the EU for all administrations to reduce bureaucracy.

The Minister for Public Administration, Elena Salgado, who is in charge of overseeing the measures, said that those who would benefit from them would be ‘ordinary citizens who would see individual measures simplified as well as businesses and professionals.

She also added that the measures would contribute to the increasing productivity’.

Salgado is not new to reforming public administration. She participated in the reforms carried out by Felipe Gonzalez’s socialist government at the beginning of the 80’s. However, in this instance the emphasis was on the legal security of reforms. This time round the emphasis is on increasing productivity and competition amongst businesses.

According to Salgado the EU strategy of simplifying public administration is particularly relevant for Spain because the distribution of responsibilities between autonomous governments sometimes generates unnecessary procedures which are duplicated between central and regional bodies.

She hopes that the simplification of public administration measures will have the largest impact on medium sized to small companies.

The government’s plans define six areas of priority: the rights of associations and societies, fiscal legislation, statistics, public contracts, the environment and industrial relations. Amongst some of the procedures which will be simplified are those relating to the creation of businesses, freeing up resources for the growth of businesses, the reduction of costs and increasing productivity.

The government plans to measure the savings that new procedures will bring by means of a model of standard costs. Although the plans to reduce the costs of public administration is only applicable to central government bodies it is hoped that regional governments together with the Federation of Municipal areas and Provinces will also collaborate.

The Spanish cabinet will receive regular reports on the development of the reforms by the Commission on Economic Issues.

Amongst some of the reforms already approved include plans to introduce more information technology in place of paperwork, electronic interconnection between different bodies and the reduction in the amount of time that procedures take. These measures will affect the Ministries for the Economy and Treasury, the Ministry for Work and Immigration, the Ministry for Tourism and Commerce, the Ministry for Public Administration, the Ministry for Health and the Ministry for Science and Innovation.

Most of the new measures will come into effect over the next few days. One example is the speeding up of VAT rebates to small businesses and the self employed who opt to receive their rebates on a monthly basis instead of waiting for their annual rebate.